Masaga wants to sign off Chiefs career in style

EVAN PEGDEN
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2013
Chiefs vs Crusaders
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Lelia Masaga has a cut at the Crusaders defence.
Lelia Masaga
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ
TOUCH AND GO: Lelia Masaga must prove his fitness at today's captain's run.

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It's all about BTB, according to Lelia Masaga.

Masaga is one of five Chiefs head overseas to new contracts at the end of the Super Rugby season, which finishes with their final against the Brumbies in Hamilton this Saturday night.

So the twinkle-toed winger, who powered over for the game-changing second-half try in the weekend's semifinal victory over the Crusader, was not lacking motivation to extend his season by one more week.

"It was very important to me," said Masaga.

"We're all about BTB, which is back-to-back trophies, so our main goal was to win this game and hopefully have a final.

"Our goal now is to win that and go away with two titles."

Aaron Cruden, the Chiefs' other try scorer and contributor of 15 of his team's points, said BTB also had other meanings for the team apart from "Back to Back" and was something they had really built their season on.

"It's been great for us because there was a bit of pressure leading into the season being defending champions but we wanted to walk towards that pressure and we're one step closer to going back to back now," Cruden said.

Made underdogs by media and public outside of the franchise area, Cruden said the players were happy with that and knew they just had to put in "the grind" during the week.

"I think it showed out there tonight how much it really meant to us and it was great to have that home support."

Cruden was again outstanding on Saturday night with some sublime attacking touches, including his intercept try, as well as once again defending courageously despite his 1.78 metre, 83 kilogram frame.

And while the two backs might have stolen the limelight with the tries, their team-mates were making sure everyone realised one of the real heroes for the Chiefs was openside flanker Tanerau Latimer.

Latimer had been limited in what he could do at training during the week after getting a kick in the calf in the Blues match two weeks earlier.

He also spent time off the field for a concussion test on Saturday night, but his defence and work rate was massive.

"He's a real workhorse for us, a real catalyst for us," co-skipper Craig Clarke said.

"The battle he has with Sam [Cane] to start each week is awesome and he hasn't trained all week; he's got a massive big bruise all the way down his leg so he gutsed out and he epitomises what Chiefs mana is all about."

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- Waikato Times

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